Democrat: Whitaker didn’t deny talking to Trump about Cohen

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee suggested on Wednesday that former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker may have had conversations with President Donald Trump about Michael Cohen’s legal troubles, saying that Whitaker “did not deny” the conversations during a private meeting on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., did not get into the specifics of what Whitaker said when he met with Nadler and the top Republican on the panel, Georgia Rep. Doug Collins. Collins said he heard Whitaker’s comments differently and maintained that Whitaker said he “had not talked with the president about Mr. Cohen at all.” Two Republican staff members in the room backed up Collins’ version. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the confidential meeting.

There was no transcript taken at the meeting, according to the Republican aides, so it wasn’t clear exactly what Whitaker said, and it may never be clear. But the dispute could have high stakes, as Democrats have voiced concerns that Whitaker was a Trump loyalist whose appointment, they suspect, was aimed at suppressing investigations of the Republican president.